lisa monaghan

Southall (1976). Nuer and Dinka are People. Ecology. Ethnicity and Logical Possibility

It is preferable to call the Nuer Naath and the Dinka Jieng, as they do themselves. Since both terms mean 'people', the distinction between them is in part a question of linguistic differentiation. Economical interpretation of the evidence suggests that the much smaller, though expansive, population of Naath must have emerged from a pre-existing population of proto-Jieng. The Naath identity probably emerged as a result of overpopulation in the jebel- Ghazal triangle, the central pocket of an extreme ecological region, forcing them to break out by attacking their neighbours and expanding at their expense. This emergent contrast be- tween attacker and attacked sums up the crucial differences between Naath andJieng, both in social organisation and values. Where the Naath attack most and the Jieng are most attacked the differences between them are greatest, despite the high absorption ofJieng by Naath under these circumstances. Elsewhere they are rather alike, some groups of Naath and Jieng being more like one another than to other groups of their own nominal category. The possible course of events which led to their present distribution is examined in the light of oral tra- dition, institutional variation and logical possibilit

Category: Anthropology and History

Sub-category: Socio-Cultural Groups and Practices